f.fs ; -7 o
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY— CIRCULAR No. 170.
L. O. HOWARD. Hi In Iniiil and Chi<-( o( Bureau.
THE FOWL TICK.
F. C. BISHOFP,
i OFFICE : 1111
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY.
L. O. Howard, Entomologist and Chief of Bureau.
C. L. Mablatt, Entomologist and Acting Chief in Absence of Chief.
R. S. Clifton, Executive Assistant.
W. F. Tastet, Chief Clerk.
F. H. Chittenden, in charge of truck crop and stored product insect investigations.
A. D. Hopkins, in charge of forest insect investigations.
W. I>. Huntlr, in charge of southern field crop insect investigations.
F. M. Webster, in charge <,f cereal and forage insect investigations.
A. L. Quaintance. in charge of deciduous fruit insect investigations.
E. F. Phillips, in charge of lice culture.
I). M. Rogers, in charge of preventing spread of moths, field work.
Rolla P. Currie. In charge of editorial work.
Mabel Colcord, in charge of library.
Southern Field Chop [nsect Investigations.
W. I>. Hunter, in charge.
W. I>. Pierce, J. D. Mitchell. G. I). Smith. B. A. McGregor. Harry Pinkus,
IS. It. C'OAD, G. X. WOLCOTT, W. A. THOMAS, It. W. MORELAND. C. E. HESTER,
engaged in cotton-boll weevil investigations.
A. ('. Morgan. G. A. Runner, S. E. Crumb, D. C. Parman. engaged in tobacco
F. C. Hishopp. A. H. Jennings, II. P. Wood. W. V. King, engaged in tick investi-
T. E. IIolloway, E. R. Barber, engaged in sugar-cane insect investigations.
J. L. Webb, engaged in rice insect investigations.
It. A. Cooley, D. L. Van Dine, a. F. Conbadi, C. C. Kbumbhaab, collaborators.
CIRCULAR No. 170. .], i;tl
United States Department of Agriculture,
BUREAU OK ENTOMOLOGY.
L. O. HOWARD. Entomologist and Chief of Bureau.
THE FONT, TICK.
i i rgaa mintatus Kocb. t
By I' i ' Bishopp,
Entomological I isistant.
1 \ 1 Ki 'IH ( lh i\.
Among ilif many problems which confront the poultry raiser in
the southwestern portion of the United States none surpasses in im-
portance that of the fowl or chicken tick (Argas miniatm Koch).
The statement has been made by reliable authorities that chicken rais-
ing in certain localities in southwestern Texas is pract ically prohibited
by this pest. It is very common to meet people in many sections of
thf infested area who have disposed of their poultry mainly on ac-
count of tin- Losses caused by thi> tick. The damage occasioned to
the man who is raising poultry on a considerable scale is very -mall
when compared with the losses sustained by the hundreds of indi-
viduals in town and country who keep a few fowls for home use.
This is partly due to the Lack of attention given to their poultry by
those who do not attempt to go into the industry commercially.
It is difficult to make a reliable estimate of the damage chargeable
to the fowl tick, as much of the Loss is indirect or complicated with
damages produced by other causes. There is do doubt, however,
the total Loss duo to the pest amount.- to many thousands ol dollars
HISTOBD W .
A tick which many authorities consider identical with our Ameri-
can form was briefly described by Oken in 1818 from specimens col-
lated in Persia. In 1844 a German investigator, Koch, described
specimens from Demerara, British Guiana. The latter were un-
questionably of the same species as the tick which occurs in the Unite 1
1 Submittal by permission a- a minor thesis for the at the
Colorado Agricultural College.
Z THE FOWL TICK.
States. Our earliest record of the occurrence of the fowl tick in
this country was published in 187:2 by Dr. A. S. Packard. This was
based upon a collection of ticks made by Mr. G. W. Belfrage in
southwestern Texas. Dr. L. O. Howard ' states that Mr. F. G.
Schaupp sent specimens of this tick to the Bureau of Entomology
in November, 18*4. At that time it was said to he a severe pest to
chickens in Dimmit County. Tex. Mr. Albert Turpe stated that
the tick appeared in Kinney County. Tex., in 1892, but Mr. Ferdi-
nand Hoehr averred that it had been present in that county since
1888. According to a statement of Prof. C. M. "Weed published in
the Prairie Farmer. January 7. 1SSS. Mr. George H. Trook sent in
specimens of this tick from Maricopa County. Ariz., with the in-
formation that they were troubling chickens in that section. Dur-
ing December, 1894, Mr. C. II. T. Townsend found the pest infesting
chickens at San Diego. Tex., and earlier in the same year Mr. E. M.
Ehrhorn reported it as attacking chickens and turkeys at Merced,
It has not been possible to secure reliable data on the early history
of the pest from residents in the infested territory. It seems jn'ob-
able that it has existed in southwestern Texas for many years and
was probably introduced from Mexico at the time of the colonization
of the State b}' the Spanish who came in from that country. Further-
more, it has not been firmly established whether the species has been
spi'eading northward in Texas, although the belief that a gradual
spread has taken place has been expressed by Prof. E. D. Sanderson.
It is certain, however, that the tick is becoming more generally dis-
seminated throughout the infested territory along with the settling
up of the Southwest.
The chicken tick, "blue bug." "bloodsucker." or •"tampan." as it
is called in different localities or regions, is a widely disseminated
species. In the United States it is infrequently met with outside of
the semiarid and arid Southwest. However, it has been reported a
number of times from Florida, and the Marx collection in the United
States National Museum contain- specimens from Iowa. The collec-
tion of the Bureau of Entomology contains specimens from a corre-
spondent at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.. where the tick was said to be
injurious, and Mr. G. A. Runner found the specie- in numbers at
Key "West, Fla. In this country, as has been indicated, this tide
occurs in greatest abundance in the warm portions of the arid and
semiarid region. A careful study of its normal distribution in Texas
shows that it does not extend far eastward into the region where the
annual rainfall exceeds 30 inches. This makes the eastern t'd^ of its
1 Insect Life, Div. Km., U. S. Dept. Agr., vol. 7, p. 418, 1S95.
I II I I n\\ I IKK.
range coincide closely with :i line dividing one of our life zones,
known as the Lower Austral, into the Lower Sonoran and Austrori-
The map (fig. I) shows approximately the normal distribution of
tlif species in the Onited States. It is b serious pest throughout tin-
greater pari of western Texas, southern New Mexico and Arizona,
southern and western California, and on the great plateau of north-
central Mexico and in other pari- <>f that country. In many other
regions of the n orld this tick is of important 1 nemj of poultry.
It appears t" occur commonly in Persia, [ndia, southern Russia,
rowl ti.i, \tut) Id the On (The
large dots Indl
Entomology The Bmali within the
I'm - Dal.)
Roumania, North and South Africa, various parts of Australia, the
West Indie-. Mexico. Panama, British Guiana, and Brazil.
There appears to be no reason why the species may not become
established in all of our Gulf States, as it occur- in other countries
which have very similar climate-. However, it will probably never
become a pe-t of continuous importance in the States east of Texas
on account of their humid climate-. There is little danger of the
establishment of the species in the more northern State-, anil the
cases where it is occasionally found outside <>f the area of normal
occurrence must be considered as temporary infestations brought
4 THE FOWL TICK.
about by the introduction of the tick on fowls or in coops from in-
fested regions. If favorable conditions exist at the time of introduc-
tion the tick may breed and become of some importance as a pest for
a short period, but sooner or later it is so checked as to be of little
consequence or it dies out completely.
Although the chicken is the host most frequently attacked by this
species, a considerable number of other domestic fowls may be
troubled by it, and turkeys, geese, ducks, pigeons, ostriches, and
canaries have each been found to suffer from its attack. During this
investigation a few larva? of this species have been found in southern
Texas on the meadowlark (J. D. Mitchell) and on wild turkey (F. C.
Pratt). It has also been reported to have been collected, in rare
instances, on cattle and jack rabbits, and experimentally it has been
induced to feed upon rats and mice. In Persia this tick, which is
known as the " miana bug," has a formidable reputation. It is said
to attack man with avidity in that country, and early writers report
very serious effects produced by its bite. In some cases it was accused
of producing death within 20 hours. These statements are no doubt
overdrawn and other species of a closely allied genus (Ornithodoros)
may have been confused with this one. Prof. Lounsburv. in South
Africa, allowed specimens to feed upon his arm and experienced no
,-erious results. In this country we have had no authentic reports
of this pest attacking man.
HOW THE IKJXFKY IS DONE.
As a result of the presence of this creature loss is sustained in
several wa} 7 s: (1) Through death, which may occur among poultry
of all ages; (2) by the lowering of the vitality of the fowl so as to
make it readily susceptible to disease; (3) by greatly reducing e<yg
production; (4) by stunting the growth of chickens; and (5) by
disturbing setting hens.
Death may be produced in two ways. First, by gross infestation,
which drains the fowl of blood and produces intense irritation similar
to " tick worry." caused by the cattle tick and other species among
the larger domestic animals. This difficulty is most apparent when
chickens are placed in coops which have not been occupied for several
months. The ticks are extremely hungry, attack the fowls in great
numbers, and soon weaken them to such an extent that they are
unable to get on the roost. When the chickens are thus weakened
they more readily fall victims to the ticks. In some cases the infested
fowls appear paralyzed, being unable to use the legs. The wings
droop, the feathers have a milled appearance, the appetite is lost, and
the fowl may die as soon as two or three days after the first attack.
l in. i OWL IKK. 5
In Ices severe infestations, when the fowls are \<r\ hearty, they may
droop for some time, or, if removed from further infestation, quickly
ond, death may be produced 03 specific disease which has been
proven to be carried l>\ the chicken tick. This malady, which is
known a- spirochetosis, has been proven to exist in many countries
where the chicken tick occurs, namely, in India, Egyptian Sudan,
Transcaucasia, Roumania, Tunis, Algeria, Rhodesia, South Australia,
Brazil, and Martinique. It is also probable that the disease occurs
in other islands of the West Indies. A disease with many of the
symptoms of spirochetosis occurs among chickens in the southwestern
part of the United State- and in Mexico. The fowl tick has been
found associated with this disease. These points strongly indicate
that the malady in question i- (lie t ick-tran-mitted spirochetosis
known in other countries, although thi- remains to be definitely
prov e d.
It i- readily -een how the weakening effect of the blood loss pro-
duced by this species may encourage the development of various dis-
eases. It ha- been shown by certain authorities that, in feeding, this
tick introduces a substance called anticoagulin into the wound
produced by the insertion of the mouth parts. This substance and
possibly other secretion- seem to produce acute inflammation at the
point of attack, and" when the infestation is heavy the inflammation
a 1 - well a- the loss of blood is an important factor in reducing egg
The continued drain upon the Systems of chicken- from the time
they are hatched until full grown is sufficient to accounl for the re-
duction in the size of poultry raised in t ick-infe-ted houses.
The irritation produced upon setting hen- by the attack of the tick
in it- different stages frequently interfere- with successful hatching,
in some instances even causing the hen- to desert their nests.
Ill K HISTORY Wl> II \IUT-.
The habits of the fowl tick are very similar to those of the bed-
bug (( "iiiK.r lectulariua L. 1. It is almost exclusively a night feeder.
Because of this habh of engorging on fowls during the night and
biding in the daytime many people do not suspect the presence of
the tick until serious loss has been sustained.
The life history of this species is considerably different from that
of the ticks ordinarily observed on the farm. The e<ri_ r - are small,
oval, brownish objects, and are deposited in the crack- and crevices
about the roosting place- of the fowls. During warm weather they
hatch in from 1 « ' to 1." days. Tn the winter the hatching period may
exceed three month-. The minute six-legged seed ticks or larva?
which emerge from the eL r i_ r - are very diff appearance from
THE FOWL TICK.
PIG. 2. — A seed tick, the larva of
tin' fowl tick, as seen from be-
neath. Greatly enlarged. (Orig-
the full-grown ticks. A tick in this stage, as seen from l>eneath,
is shown in figure 2. The seed ticks are light gray in color ami the
mouth parts can be seen projecting in front of the body. Follow-
ing hatching they remain quiet on the eggs for a few days and then,
after nightfall, begin actively running
about in search of a host. When a suit-
able host is found they bury the rather
long beak in the skin and begin sucking
blood. Their favorite places of attach-
ment are on the breast and thighs and
under the wings, but they may be found
on nearly all parts of the fowl. After
feeding has begun they soon become
dark blue in color and the body gradu-
ally become- distended and rounded.
The fully engorged seed ticks are about
one-tenth of an inch in length and are
usually of a dark-blue or purplish color.
When fully engorged the seed ticks
drop from the host. These ticks have
acquired the habit of dropping from the
host during the night. It is thus possible for them to find hiding
places in the immediate vicinity of the chicken roost. The time
required for the seed ticks to engorge has been found to range from
3} to 10 days.
In from 4 to 9 days after
dropping from the host the
engorged seed ticks molt
their skins and" acquire a
fourth pair of legs. In cool
weather this transformation
sometimes requires slightly
over a month. In this stage
the ticks are known as
nymphs (fig. 3). They are
slightly larger than the en-
gorged seed ticks but are
very much flatter. In this
and all subsequent stages the
ticks feed almost exclusively
at night and do not require
more than from a few minutes to an hour to become filled with blood.
This enables them to partake of their meal and thoroughly secrete
themselves in the cracks during the night and thus escape destruction
by the host. Before becoming mature the nymphs feed and molt
Fig. •". — Nymph of the fowl tick, as seen from
below. Greatly enlarged. (Original.)
THE I iiu i i M'K.
v - >
their -kin- twice and sometimes three times. During these succes-
live « i iii< >ruii i if 1 1 1 ~ ami tnol tings the ticks increase considerably in
lize i>ui maintain the oval, flattened
At the last moll the sexual organs
are developed. The male- i fig. I i are
slightly smaller than the females i fig.
5), i he former measuring about one
fifth of an inch ami i be latter about
one fourth of an inch in lengl h.
Before feeding tin' adults arc
yellowish brown color and arc very
thin. After partaking of M<><><| they
change t<> dark blue and the size in-
creases considerably. The bodii
the male- do not distend as much as
those of the females. In the adult
stages, as also in the nymphal stages,
the mouth parts arc located on the
underside of the front end of the
body. They are not usually visible
from above. The body is quite leath-
ery and exhibits a cellular appearance with radiating row- of rather
smooth, irregular disks. Mating take- place immediately alter en-
: ! i i
■ beneath. N te
hind itac mouth]
1 • [lnal. i
Fig. 5.— Female of the fowl tick, as Been from :<h.>\.- and bem ith. (S
genital opening just behind the moothpai glnal.)
gorgement, and the female- begin to deposit eggs in from I to 1" days
later. Often during the winter the female- do not deposit for long
8 THE FOWL TICK.
periods and sometimes require a second engorgement before egg
Unlike many species of ticks, the female does not die upon com-
pletion of the first deposition, but again fills with blood and produces
another batch of eggs. This process of feeding followed by deposi-
tion may take place as many as seven times, the average number
being about three or four. The largest number of eggs which we have
observed to be deposited by a single female is 874 and the average
number 537. It will thus be seen that although deposition takes
place a number of times, the total number of eggs produced is con-
siderably smaller than the number deposited by many of our common
species of ticks. For example, the average number of eggs deposited
by the cattle tick is between 3.000 and 4.000. As has been stated, the
eggs are to be found in small clusters associated with all stages of
the tick in the cracks and crevices about the chicken house.
One of the most remarkable features of the life history of this
creature is its great length of life without food. The seed ticks have
been found to live for a period of 5| months. Ticks in the first
nymphal stage may live for slightly more than 9 months, those in the
second nymphal stage for about 15 months, and those in the adult
stage for nearly -2i years. In each of the>c cases the specimens ob-
served were kept in tight boxes and no food was given. Other ob-
servers have recorded still greater longevity among adults of this
species. Some of them state that the tick may live over 3 years with-
out food. Dr. C. V. Riley has published a statement to the effect that
they have been observed to live some 5 years without food. Our
observation upon hundreds of individuals indicate that there must
be some mistake about this record.
SUMMARY OF LIFE CYCLE.
The eggs of this tick hatch into larvae in from 10 to 100 days. The
seed ticks, or larva?, attach to a fowl and feed from 3£ to 10 days,
after which they drop from the host, mainly at night, and secrete
themselves in protected places. During warm weather the skins of
the seed ticks are molted in from 4 to 7 days and the eight-legged
nymphs appear. The second engorgement, which always occurs at
night, requires only a few bonis at most, after which the ticks again
secrete themselves and molt their skins. The third engorgement
also occurs at night, as do all subsequent feedings. Following this
engorgement the ticks require 11 or more days in which to -bed
their skins. About six-sevenths of the resulting ticks are now
mature. These are ready for depositing eggs after another engorge-
ment and mating. The other one-seventh of the individuals are
still nymphs after the third molt and must of necessity feed once
I III. i <<\\ i i I' K. 9
mors and moll their - K 1 1 1 - again before becoming adults. The last
oymphaJ molt in this case has been found t<> require 9 or more days.
The adults are ready for engorgement booh after 1 1 * « - last molt, and
deposition begins after mating has taken place. As man] as seven
engorgements and depositions have been observed, an average ot 537
being deposited by each female tick.
The number of generations of the chicken tick annually has not
hem determined. Ii is possible for the tick to develop through all
of it- Btages ami thus complete it- life cycle in about K) 'lay-. Nor-
mally, however, it probably takes at least tw< nth-, in warm
weather, tor this complete transformation. Although breeding con-
tinues through tlif winter it i- greatly retarded during the coolest
weather. It i- c-timated that about ti\e generations occur annually
in the southern part of the range of the tick.
\ \ n l: \i \(.i Mir- O] CON! ROL.
\- has been pointed out. this tick doe- not thrive in portions of the
Southern State- which have a humid climate. This fait, together
with experimental evidence, indicate- thai the species is largely con-
trolled by excessive moisture. It has also been found that the in-
jury indicted by the species i- greatest during hot. dry seasons. It
also appear- thai low temperature- are important in reducing the
rapidity of multiplication and other activities, and that where very
cold winter- occur the tick doe- not exist.
The >peeie- i- singularly free from natural enemies. The little
hlack ant (Monomorium minutum) ha- been -ecu carrying off the
eggs and larva?, ami some of the house-inhabiting spiders probably
destroy limited numbers of the tick in the later stages. Rats and
mice are also concerned in it- destruction in these stages. Chicken-
eat the tick with avidity when they have access to it. However, it
i- greatly protected by it- habits id' night feeding and of crawling
deeply into crack- during the day. These habits also make it prac-
tically exempt from destruction by insectivorous birds.
\ 1 ROL Ml \-l R] -.
Ml Mines 1. 1 PREVENTING INTESTATIOH.
It i- much easier to exclude the fowl tick from premises which are
not already infested than to eradicate it after an infestation ha- he-
come established. Hence it i- advisable, when poultry raising i-
beinir started, to choose a site some distance from where chicki
have roosted. If it i- possible to have the entire poultry farm well
separated from other farm- the exclusion of the tick i- made more
certain. No chicken-, or coop- which have contained chick,
should he hroiicrht near the site of the new yards. This demai
10 THE FOWL TICK.
the use of the incubator for starting and replenishing the flock.
When the chicken yards are built in proximity to infested premises
extreme care should be exercised by the poultryman to exclude his
fowls from these premises, as well as to prevent foreign poultry
from entering the tick-free yards. Frequent and careful inspections
should also he made of chicken houses to be certain that an infesta-
tion has not occurred from unguarded sources. If it is desired to
bring stock in, tins should be kept quarantined at some distance from
the chicken yards for 10 days. The temporary coops in which the
poultry is kept during this period should then be burned or dipped
in boiling water to insure the destruction of all ticks. As has been
stated under the discussion of the life history of this species, the
seed ticks may remain attached to the host for a period of 10 day-,
hence the recommendation that fowls be quarantined for that period.
At the expiration of the 10 days all of the ticks will have dropped
and hidden themselves in the cracks of the coop. They may then be
destroyed by the methods mentioned. "When poultry is to be moved
from an old chicken house into a new one the same method of free-
ing them from ticks should be employed.
METHODS OF COMBATING INFESTATION.
It is of much importance to determine as early as possible whether
or not the fowl tick is present in the chicken house. Oftentimes the
small blue seed ticks are observed upon the skin of poultry which is
dressed for consumption. The presence of these little parasites
should always cause the owner to turn his attention to the chicken
coops. Whenever the combs and gills of chickens appear pale or
signs of weakness are exhibited the cause can often be ascertained by
making an examination of the roosting places. Frequently severe
losses are sustained without the presence of the pest becoming known
to the poultryman. It is therefore necessary to make frequent care-
ful examinations of the cracks in the vicinity of the roosts to deter-
mine if an infestation exists. When ticks are found it is important
to determine how extensive is the infestation and where the majority
of the ticks are. If many specimens are found in all parts of the
building and if the structure is of little value, the easiest and surest
way of destroying the pest is to burn the entire chicken house. If,
however, the ticks are not to be found in all parts of the building and
if it is of too much value to be destroyed, other methods of fighting
the tick should be adopted. In the first place all unnecessary boards
and boxes which form protection for the tick should be removed.
The house should then be thoroughly sprayed with pure kerosene,
crude petroleum (Beaumont oil), creosote, or some of the standard
tick dips used at a strength of 1 part of the dip to 3 parts of water.
A thorough spraying with whitewash containing carbolic acid has
I hi i !'\\ L TICK. 11
:il-o been recommended. Man) other destructive agents have been
employed \\ nli greater or less success; among these are boiling water,
creosoted products, and strong kerosene emulsion. The application
• it" hot tar to the interior of infested houses has given some relief From
the pest in certain instances. The tar tends to lill up the cracks and
to seal up i he i icks already in them.
When chickens are found to be suffering From the attach of the
tick they should be removed immediately From the house in which
the ticks occur. It is possible i<> destroy many of the larvae which
are attached to the bird, but as a rule it is sufficient to -hut the
affected chicken up and allow the larvae t" he,, me engorged and drop
off. In case chickens become very weak From attack before the
trouble is located it is advisable to apply kerosene and lard to the
underside of the wings and breasts in order to destroy some of the
larva? already attached. Practically all of the seed ticks on the
chickens may be destroyed by submerging them in one of the creosote
dips, mixed with water in the proportion of l to 1°. Plunging in-
Fested Fowls into gasoline has been Found to destroy every tick
attached to them, but this treatment is too harsh on the host to be
recommended. In general, dipping of the birds is inadvisable, as
that treatment i- rather severe, ami usually it' the chickens are kepi
From further infestations they soon recover From the attack.
The chicken tick- ha- been Found to be one of the mosl difficult
form- of animal life to destroy. It i- able to survive applications
which would kill practically any Form of insect life. Insect powder,
kerosene emulsions, and creosote dip- w^r<\ at the ordinary strength
and Fumigation with such poisonous substances a- hydrocyanic-acid
gas are entirely inadequate t" destroy tin pest. On account of the
ability of the ticks to crawl far into very narrow cracks it i- prac-
tically impossible to strike all of them with any substance applied.
This oecessitates the repetition of the treatment at intervals of a
k or 10 day-, until the tick i- brought well under control.
Numerous devices have been used or advocated tor protecting
chickens from tick attack. Among the contrn at ces For isolating the
roosts may he mentioned wrapping the end- of the poles in waste or
cotton soaked in petroleum and supporting the roosts by means
rods running through cup- filled with kerosene or other deterrent
material. If these method- are employed For protecting the poultry
Care should he taken to keep the repellent -uli-taiee- Fresh and n« t to
allow the dust to accumulate on the top. In any event the roosts
should he smooth and free from hark and crack- -<. as not to furnish
hiding place- for the ticks. They should al-o he arranged so a- \<> he
ly removed to permit of cleaning the house ami applying petroleum
or creosote around the end- of the r< • -t- ami other place- where the
tick.- are most apt to hide. Gasoline torches have been used in de-
12 THE FOWL TICK.
stroying ticks with some success. This method is very effective in
eradicating the pest from noninflammable buildings such as are dis-
cused under "tick-proof houses.*' .1 very simple and inesapem
method of protecting fowls from the tick is to suspend the roosts by
means of small wires from the ceiling. Wires should <d.so be run
from the roost to the side of the building in order to prevent the
framework from touching at any point. This arrangement in vari-
ous forms is being used by a few chicken raisers in many localities,
and in most cases with marked success. The method is inexpensive,
can be adapted to any kind of chicken house, and requires only suffi-
cient attention to make certain that the roosts and roost frames
themselves do not become infested.
As has been stated, the longevity of this species is so great that
this method alone can not be relied upon to kill out the ticks already
in the building, as a few of them are certain to become engorged
on setting or laying hens, or on chickens which remain on the ground,
and thus keep the infestation alive. In view of these facts it is
recommended that along with the suspension of the perches on wires,
spraying or mopping with petroleum or creosote be practiced.
For the most part conditions throughout southwestern Texas and
other parts of the infested territory are favorable for the breeding
of this pest. Cedar posts which are covered with bark and filled
with deep crevices are extensively used in and about the chicken
houses. In some cases the chickens are compelled to roost in trees
and about barns owing to the erroneous idea that by this method they
will escape the chicken ticks which are usually concentrated in the
chicken houses. This practice only serves to scatter the ticks about
the premises and often induces infestations of the barns, trees, and
fences. This makes it possible for the ticks to get on the chickens in
any place about the yards and practically prevents successful control.
"Where poultry commonly roost in trees it is a good policy to remove
all of the loose bark from the trees used as roosting places and to fill
all holes and crotches in them with tar.
The whitewashing of building- and general cleanliness maintained
in order to keep the chicken tick in check are of much advantage in
warding off' some of the diseases to which poultry is subject. Many
of the control methods advocated are of decided importance in com-
bating other poultry pests. Applications of tickicides to chicken
houses are sure to destroy the chicken mite (Dermanyssus gaffincB
Kedi), which has a habit, very similar to that of the chicken tick, of
hiding in the cracks. These applications also aid in controlling the
chicken flea (Scercopsylla (jail "■ naa a Westw.), which is of consider-
able importance in certain sections of thi> country.
Tin i<>\\ i TICK. 18
Til K moot Hot si s,
When it is planned to construct u>-w quarters for poultry the matter
of protection from this pest should be kept in mind. It is possible to
build chicken houses which are practically tick proof; moreover, the
cost <>f building ;ui<l maintaining such structures does not greatly
exceed the outlay necessary t<> construct m house which would favor
tick 'lc\ elopment.
Rouses can be built of a variety of different materials bo as to
make it very easy to control thi- pest It* it seems desirable to build
;i frame structure ;ill parts should be made of smooth | ber and care
.should be taken to furnish the least possible number of hiding places
for tin* tick-. Shingle roof- when once infested are exceedingly diffi-
cult t<> riil of ticks. It i> therefore advisable to make the roof of cor-
rugated icon. tin. or one of the patent roofings.
The all-metal chicken house has many advantages over wooden or
partially wooden structures. A number of such houses built mainly
of metal are in use in southwestern Texas and have been found prac-
tically tick free, although no precautions were taken against intro-
ducing ticks with the poultry or of treating the inside of the houses.
In constructing a poultry house the individual need- largely gov-
ern the style and size of the structure. The cost of material- required
for an all-metal house 11 feet long, 1" feel wide, and 7 feet high in
front, with a roof sloping one way. has been found to amount to about
These figures are based on the use of three-fourths inch piping
for the framework and painted corrugated iron for the covering. The
difference in price of painted and galvanized iron is considerable, the
former being about $2.40 per square and the latter about $3.50. The
painted iron will be found satisfactory for use at inland points, tts
life may Ih> increased by applying an occasional coat of paint. In the
construction of the frame it i- necessary i" have the piping cut to
the required lengths and threaded. The large number of -hurt pieces
of piping and the considerable number of crosses, elbows, and T's
make the assembling of the frame rather difficult. Where angle iron
is available it is more desirable and costs no more. The corrugated
iron may then be riveted on or cleated on ;i- would he done if the
piping frame wen- used. Wooden frames may Ih> employed if the
metal is too expensive or difficult to obtain. When wooden frame-
are used it is best to put the framework on the outside of the -In i
ing. These corrugated iron houses are very hot during the day and
therefore -hade, other than that afforded by the hoii-e-. should l>e
provided in the chicken yard-. This extreme heat and the lack of
protection are the essential factor- in keeping the chicken tick out.
The tick will never become a serious nuisance in an all-metal house
if protection, such as loose boards, nests, etc., i-. not given it. Never-
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
14 the fowl T 3 1262 09216 5538
theless it is advisable to avoid introducing the pest, if possible. The
complete destruction of the tick, should it become established in a
metal house, is easily accomplished by removing the roost and burn-
ing a considerable quantity of straw, paper, or other light material
within the house. All parts of the house should be thoroughly heated
or reached by the flame. As has been stated the roosts should always
be arranged to permit of easy removal for cleaning and other pur-
It is recommended that nests be located apart from roosting places.
Tick-proof nests or boxes isolated by means of legs set in dishes tilled
with kerosene are desirable. If. however, the nests are made of
ordinary boxes and not allowed to come in contact with any walls it is
seldom that they will become infested to any degree if thoroughly
cleaned out occasionally. Should these boxes become infested they
can be destroyed with little loss. Metal nests may be made with a
ring of small iron to which is attached a sort of basket made of wire
netting. These nests may be thoroughly cleaned by burning the
straw which they contain and holding the wire part over the blaze.
In the infested territory brooders and pens should be selected or con-
structed with a view to lessening hiding places which may be occupied
by this pest.
That the fowl tick can be kept completely out of a poultry farm
has been demonstrated conclusively by a few progressive poultrymen
in Texas, but this is the reward of scrupulous cleanliness and con-
Secretary of Agriculture.
Washington, D. C.. January 18, 1913.
ADDITIONAL COPIES of this publication
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Ent of DOCUMENTS, Government Printing
Office, Washington, D. C, at 5 cents per copy